What is PETN or Pentaerythritol tetranitrate?

Uttar Pradesh rubbishes media reports over PETN
Uttar Pradesh rubbishes media reports over PETN
Lucknow: PETN  or Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, is one of the most powerful explosive materials ever known, with a relative effectiveness factor of 1.66. The chemical when mixed with a plasticizer forms a plastic explosive. It is the main ingredient of Semtex when mixed with RDX. It is the nitrate ester of pentaerythritol.
PETN also known as PENT, PENTA, TEN, corpent, (or—rarely and primarily in German—as nitropenta) is the nitrate ester of pentaerythritol. It is structurally very similar to nitroglycerin and refers to the five carbon atoms of the neopentane skeleton.
PETN is also used as a vasodilator drug to treat certain heart conditions, such as for management of angina.

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Angina, also known as angina pectoris, is the sensation of chest pain, pressure, or squeezing, often due to not enough blood flow to the heart muscle as a result of obstruction or spasm of the coronary arteries.

  • PETN is one of the most powerful explosives and is difficult to detect. Because of its plastic nature, the explosive can easily pass metal detectors. Even bomb-sniffing dogs cannot detect it because of its low pressure molecules.
  • The explosive allows terrorists to use only small quantities with enormous damages. Even 100 grams of PETN is enough to blast away a car.

When was PETN first prepared?

  • Pentaerythritol tetranitrate was first prepared and patented in 1894 by the explosives manufacturer Rheinisch-Westfälische Sprengstoff A.G. of Cologne, Germany.
  • The production of PETN started in 1912, when the improved method of production was patented by the German government.
  • PETN was used by the German Military in World War.
  • It was also used in the MG FF/M autocannons and many other weapon systems of the Luftwaffe in World War II, specifically in the high explosive “Minengeschoß” shell.